On the third date with my future husband, he prepped me for the fact that we were meeting his close friends at a nice restaurant in Laguna Beach. I didn’t think too much about it at the time; mainly, I focused on simply having a good time. But later he explained to me that our little get-together was an interview of sorts. The friends were secretly assessing me to help my husband determine if I was a keeper or someone to throw back in the dating pond.
The Friend Test
I guess if I hadn’t passed the friend test, it would have been our last date. Fortunately, I connected with them, and they thought I was emotionally healthy and complimented their friend well. They gave Tim the green light to move ahead and pursue me, which he did with gusto.
It might sound a little harsh to ask your friends to analyze your dates, but when you are serious about finding the right match, wasting your time by getting into relationships that will go nowhere only detracts you from your mission. My husband was ready and committed to finding a nice girl and settling down, so he came up with some solid guidelines to help him weed out women who were a bad fit. Part of his process meant including people that he loved and trusted to help him pick well.
The scriptures illustrate the importance of relying on friends to help us navigate life. My husband decided to apply this wisdom to his dating life. “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough!” (Ecc. 4:9-10, The Message)
We all have a particular paradigm or lens we use to evaluate someone we are interested in. But often, our lens gets skewed by things like intense physical attraction, our own emotional brokenness or childhood wounds that propel us to move towards people who aren’t good for us. But true friends, the ones who know you well and have your back, have another set of eyes and a different perspective to share. Do you allow the people who know you best to speak wisdom into your life and hold you accountable to dating the type of person that is best for you?
As a caveat, if your friends aren’t wise, then you might need to work on surrounding yourself with healthy influences before you even begin the dating process. But for most of us, our friend and family support system can appreciate who we are and recognize a red flag before we do.
Friends Know You
My husband’s best friends knew his quirks, strengths and weaknesses. They knew he was an extroverted man who loved God and worked in ministry. If I had been a wallflower or a highly introverted person who liked to stay at home more than go out, our relationship would have been rocky at best. Tim’s friend’s picked up on things like my spiritual journey and manners, and they asked me questions about multiple areas Tim might have missed. They watched us operate together and noticed how we treated one other, how I behaved towards the waitress and who I was when he wasn’t around. Tim’s friends understood who he was and what he wanted because Tim had shared his desire for a Godly woman with them.
Tim had determined he wanted to date differently and do it God’s way, so he asked his friends for help and Team Tim was initiated. Team Tim was behind him in every aspect of his search for a Godly relationship and Team Tim was able to pick him up and dust him off when he stumbled in the dating realm.
Find a community group of men and or women like Team Tim to help support you. Be honest with them and share your journey. Ask them to pray for you, network for you and hold you to a higher standard in your dating relationships.
Joining Community Vs. Isolating
Time and time again, we have active members in our singles community who start to date a new person and they pretty much fall off the planet. Friends and family ask where they went. And then a few months later, back to group they come, tail between their legs after another failed relationship.
We see the same pattern over and over. People get into a new relationship, get serious too fast and don’t invite their friends and family into the mix. They get physical and practically move in together, disappearing from all community. They don’t allow the very people that are there to support them in the tough times to have any say or input in their dating life.
The reality is that real relationships and marriages live and operate in community, so allow your community to embrace the person you think is a good fit. And if they unanimously think the person you have chosen isn’t a good match, let that person go quickly and go find someone who is. The longer you delay introducing dates to your social network, the longer you postpone crucial information you need to determine if this person is someone you want to pursue long-term.
You may also be interested in Why You Need A Dating Team To Coach Your Love Life
This is another great article. I can’t follow it all the way though, given how there are seasons of the dating enterprise when one chooses to do some serial-dating to “try on” different prospective partners in terms of interests, moods, personalities, compatibility, etc. When we’re too quick to introduce a new face to friends and family, they can become confused, or some may be very partisan: “I liked George the best–why don’t you go back and give him another shot?!